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value of Grado HP 1000 H3's

post #1 of 63
Thread Starter 
My dad died recently, and the set of almost unused HP 1000s I gave him years ago has come back into my hands.

These are HP 3's. They are in almost new condition, except that the earpads have rotted away. I've ordered a new pair. They have whatever were the standard cables on HP3s at the time -- not upgraded.

I had a pair of these myself, but I sold them years ago.

Once I get these up and running, I may sell them. What should I expect to get for them?

Steve
post #2 of 63
Steve -- they HP3s are quite valuable as a collectors item as so few HP3s were made -- it is estimated at 50 or less. Pristine HP-1s (and the HP-3 is more valuable) have sold for $1900, maybe over $2000, I have not really kept track.

However, I would keep them. The HP1000s are some of the best headphones in the world, along with the K1000. The HP3s supposedly had drivers that were not quite as well matched as the HP1 or HP2, but in reality, they were more or less the same, most of them actually using HP1/2 level matched drivers. The model number HP3 was introduced to attract more buyers at a lower price.
post #3 of 63
Another vote for keeping them. If not, then sell them to somebody who will respect and enjoy them - these are heirloom-quality headphones.
post #4 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by stvgray View Post
My dad died recently, and the set of almost unused HP 1000s I gave him years ago has come back into my hands.

These are HP 3's. They are in almost new condition, except that the earpads have rotted away. I've ordered a new pair. They have whatever were the standard cables on HP3s at the time -- not upgraded.

I had a pair of these myself, but I sold them years ago.

Once I get these up and running, I may sell them. What should I expect to get for them?

Steve
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Steve,

I'm very sorry for your family's loss. I’d keep the HP1000's along with the happy memories of your dad.

I’d also order several sets of replacement flat pads from “Todd the Vinyl Junkie”. Todd bought out most of the replacement pads for the HP1000 phones from Grado Labs and seems to be the best source for original pads, according to Joe. Todd charges twice what Grado Labs once did for these, which while unfortunate, is why he still has them in stock I suppose.

Also Joe’s advice, regarding extending the life of the pads, is to periodically wash them in a mild solution of “Dawn for Dishes” and warm water and then to thoroughly rinse them out before letting them air dry. While one set is drying you can enjoy one of the other sets of pads.

Joe has also cautioned me against leaving my headphones in direct contact with the original blue foam inserts which accompanied the phones when they were new. He has noticed, in restoring headphones sent to him over the years, in many cases this blue material has disintegrated – just like the foam pads – and is just a mess to try to debris from the innards of the headphones when restoring them – even for an old watchmaker like himself.

When I sent my first set of HP-1000’s to him for restoration (some HP1’s) when he finished them I noticed he didn’t include the blue foam inserts with the original box when he returned my headsets. This was initially very upsetting to me and at first I just thought that as he was in his 80’s Joe had just forgotten to include them. However, as I didn't want to upset the master, I kept silent over the matter.

Several years later, when we were sitting on his screen porch and just talking, he brought the subject of the blue foam up. He mentioned that he just routinely pitches those inserts when folks send them to him along with the headphones and then went on to explain why he does so.

What he and I do with our headsets is to neatly curl the headphone cable, so as to follow its natural lay (if the headset has been fairly well taken care of over the years that is and the cable still has a natural lay to it). We then store our headsets inside a 1 gallon zip-lock bag when they are not in use.

Lastly, I would also insure them for a minimum of $2,300. A set such as you have described (you can trace them from the original purchase or you own a set which has been authenticated by Joe himself as genuine) is currently worth every penny of at least this amount and will only grow in value with the passage of time.

Again, if it were me I would say to enjoy your headphones, think back on the happy times spent with your father also why you had purchased them for him in the first place. Enjoy as well the sounds of life as heard through these marvels and remember; what we don’t record, we lose.

Smiles,

Martin
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post #5 of 63

value of Grado HP 1000 H3's

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As to the differences in the way that these headsets sound. I’ve enjoyed HP1000’s constantly since the 1980’s when I bought my first set of them brand new. I have always heard something along the line of the explanation that 003 offers as well. However there are exceptions as I’ll explain.

Over the years I found that the main flaw with the HP1 was that they repeatedly precipitated domestic disputes in our home because my wife kept making off with them. I was fortunate enough to eventually purchase a set of brand new HP2’s from the widow of an audio engineer who had several sets that were made for him by Joe. Joe checked them out and pronounced them as his work, in new condition and I was in ecstasy.

However I was now on the horns of another dilemma. Knowing the rarity of these headphones and Joe’s advancing years my concern was in using them for what Joe had originally designed them for which was audio recording in a field setting and risking them suffering from exposure.

After worrying over this point for some time a colleague offered me what became an excellent solution to my concern. I purchased a set of horribly abused HP3’s and asked Joe to do a full restoration to them. The results were completely unexpected however.

When I picked up the refurbished HP3’s from Joe and tested them out my first impression was that they actually sounded better than my HP1’s and HP2’s, but not wanting to appear too foolish in front of Joe I just said that they sounded great – which was an understatement, but also the truth. However after returning home with my “mongrels” the more I compared the three headsets the more obvious the acoustic difference was in favor of the HP3’s.

In another conversation on Joe’s screen porch I sheepishly and tactfully brought up this observation to him and asked him for his thoughts. “Oh”, the master responded, “I spent more time tweaking those than I usually do because they were in such bad shape. Also because restoring them became an obsession”.

I didn’t press him for an additional explanation as to exactly what he had done to the HP3 drivers to max them out. Even if he had chosen to offer an explanation beyond his comment my trying to follow some of his explanations to my questions often reminds me of watching an F-16 take off.

I can follow the aircraft as it taxies down the runway, pauses for a moment and then after receiving clearance from the tower starts its take off roll. I can still follow as it takes flight and as the pilot points it’s nose to heaven. Even after the pilot pours on the coal I can follow the action, but shortly afterwards all I can see are the contrails of the aircraft.

Such are some of the conversations I have enjoyed with Joe Grado. It’s not so much that I’m a dense fellow as it is instead his level of genius. His scope of knowledge is simply mind boggling and hints at what a chat with Leonardo da Vinci may well have been like. He is by far the most intelligent person I have ever had the pleasure of learning from, either from studying their works or from knowing them in the first person.

Smiles,

Martin
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post #6 of 63
Wow, just wow !! Thanks for this great read Martin !
post #7 of 63
Thread Starter 
Martin,

Thanks for the rich background information on Joe and the HPs.

I haven't decided what to do with them, and I won't make that decision until I have the pads (which I had already ordered from TTVJ, but thanks for the tip) and can give them a good listen. I'll probably give them 100 hours of break-in before that, since it appears that my dad may have used them for only a few hours.

I don't think he was particularly attached to them. He was a guy who had every conceivable gadget, so giving him gifts was a challenge, and I tended to try to treat him to good sound even though I don't think he often bothered to listen. He was theoretically interested but not that involved.

So, bottom line, I don't see these cans as having sentimental value. However, I am a very frequent headphone listener and have had many good phones over the years, including my own pair of HP3's. Lately I've been using HD650s at home and Westone UM-2s when traveling.

So I'll cook the HP3s in, give them a good listen, and see whether they need to stay here or find another home where they will be loved.

Steve
post #8 of 63
I would agree that storing the pads in the blue foam speeds up the deterioration. I bought some replacement pads directly from Joe in 1992 and stored them in a baggie. They inventually rotted too, but lasted a two or three years longer that the ones stored in the blue foam.


Thanks for the tip on washing them. I may try that with an older pair I have.
post #9 of 63
Keep the phones unless you absolutely need the money. Their sentimental value is worth more than the $2000 that they will fetch.
post #10 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by GlorytheWiz825 View Post
Keep the phones unless you absolutely need the money. Their sentimental value is worth more than the $2000 that they will fetch.

...

Quote:
Originally Posted by stvgray View Post

So, bottom line, I don't see these cans as having sentimental value. However, I am a very frequent headphone listener and have had many good phones over the years, including my own pair of HP3's. Lately I've been using HD650s at home and Westone UM-2s when traveling.


Steve
post #11 of 63

Any questions for Joe Grado?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Killercrush View Post
Wow, just wow !! Thanks for this great read Martin !
Many thanks for the kind thoughts regarding my posts Killercrush. I hope it's warmer in Montreal than I imagine it being (;-))

Let me pose the following offer to you and others out there:

“If you could ask Joe Grado questions, what would they be?”

Over the years I have developed a great friendship with Joseph "Joe" Grado. To say this gentleman is an interesting conversationalist would be akin to saying Caruso could carry a tune fairly well.

I visited Joe at his home last on Thursday December 13, 2007 where he made us lunch (Italian peppers, onions and eggs sautéed together then served up on Keiser rolls – which was actually much better than this sounds). After lunch, we sat and talked at length about his life and times.

On the drive back from his home to mine, I mulled over our wide ranging conversation and it occurred to me that I might pose the following question to those with an interest.

If you or other readers of this response have questions and you’d like to send them to me in a private message, I’ll be happy to run them by Joe when we get together, hopefully next weekend for lunch and some more conversations regarding his spectacular new microphone (see the link below, if you have not already done so for more on this marvel.)

Flickr: Photos from ctrainbow2005

As he’s now 84 and has always been his own fellow, I can not guarantee what he’ll choose to respond to or not. However, I can guarantee that, "If we don’t ever ask him he’ll never tell us".

Smiles,

Martin
post #12 of 63


Anyone else notice that he is using directly out of the iPod headphone jack. Also has Joseph Grado mentioned at all his views on the current Grado headphone lineup.
post #13 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by unkamartin View Post
“If you could ask Joe Grado questions, what would they be?”
1. Is there a resonance-damping compound on the inside of the HP1000 earcups, and if so, would he be willing to share what it is?

2. In his words, what are the sonic differences between the various HP1000 cables?

3. In his words, what could the polarity switches on the HP-1 be useful for?

I am having a dull ache in the pit of my gut now. Sellers remorse for the HP1000.
post #14 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by SuperNothing View Post


Anyone else notice that he is using directly out of the iPod headphone jack. Also has Joseph Grado mentioned at all his views on the current Grado headphone lineup.
SuperNothing,

I can comment regarding your observation on the iPod output. I can likely also guess regarding how Joe would respond to the question regarding the current product line of Grado Labs.

In the case of your iPod output observation; the Pod belongs to me as does the Grado Lab adapter cable used to interface it with the HP-1000’s. I personally use the HPA-2 AC/DC Headphone Amp, which was designed by Joe and made under his watchful eye. This is the original one of these made, “back in the days”, and before the mantle was passed along to John by Joe.

I haven’t purchased a more contemporary portable amp as most of my listening is stationary. Joe’s use of the set up in the photo should not be considered an endorsement for this particular method of enjoying music while using an iPod; it was just what was handy at the time while we were playing on that particular day (;-))

As to his likely response concerning the current product line of Grado Labs. Joe is still, “a company man”, as well as a very proud Sicilian patriarch. I would doubt he would speak ill of a family run business, which he loved and built with his own hands; regardless of his personal feelings or audio tastes.

Smiles,

Martin
post #15 of 63
^Thanks for the quick response!
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